College Student Hunger Act of 2017

On September 28th a new house bill was introduced that would “amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to expand the eligibility of students to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.”1 Currently, most students enrolled half time or more do not qualify for the supplemental nutrition assis-tance program (SNAP). However, there are certain factors that can make students eligible, including but not limited to: age and ability, working over 20 hours per week, participating in work-study or other employment programs, receiving TANF, and having dependents.

The College Student Hunger act of 2017 would expand SNAP benefits to students that are attending school at least half time if “if they qualify for the maximum Pell Grant amount because they have a zero Expected Family Contribution, or are defined as independent for financial aid purposes in any one of the following areas: in foster care, a veteran of the Armed Forces, or are classified as an unaccompanied youth who is homeless.”2 National findings reveal that almost half of college students are experiencing food insecurity, with first generation and non-white students being the most at-risk for both food and housing insecurity.3 Expanding access to SNAP to more students that need it will not remove the structures of inequality in the U.S., but is an important step in helping to remove some of the barriers created by food insecurity while trying to attend college.

Those interested in applying for benefits or determining eligibility can call Hunger Free Colorado’s bilingual Food Resource Hotline at 855-855-4626.

Article by Coby Wikselaar, Harding Fellow on Student Hunger and Homelessness, CU Denver

1 bill/3875/text
2 Palacio, Victoria. “CLASP.” SNAP to the Rescue for Hunger on College Campuses. Center for Law and Social Policy, 20 Mar. 2057. <>.
3 Dubick,J., Matthews, B. and Cady, C. (2016). Hunger On Campus: The challenge of Food Insecurity for College Students.


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